Letters to the Editor

Letters to the editor on voting problems, climate change, Boy Scouts, Israel, skycaps

Lawmakers warned about voting law

There are times when qualified state officials are willing to set aside truth and public duty in favor of advancing their political ambition. Often the voice of the people is the most credible in the debate.

For nearly two years, KanVote has warned of the mass disenfranchisement that would result from the state’s voter-registration requirements. Throughout the 2012 legislative session, our grassroots leaders warned of complications that would surface at the Kansas Department of Revenue’s Division of Vehicles and other mandated application agencies. We described how the legal problems that were escalating in Arizona were a likely indicator of troubles to come for Kansas.

It wasn’t until hundreds lost their right to vote due to voter-ID complications during the 2012 election cycle that a small group of legislators introduced a repeal of the problematic voter-registration requirements – an effort largely ignored by their colleagues.

With more than 12,000 voter-registration applications already in suspension (July 17 Eagle), and the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision blocking Arizona’s proof-of-citizenship requirement, it is our hope that our legislators will take the input of their constituents more seriously.

Though we hate to say it, we told you so.





No shame

If our politicians were equipped with a conscience, self-reflection and a sense of shame, they would be blushing to learn about the very small country of Costa Rica enacting very large measures making it a pioneer in renewable-energy sources. Costa Rica’s leadership educates and offers incentives to achieve the goal to become the first carbon-free economy on the planet.

Meanwhile, we in this country face obstructionist movements like that promulgated by the Koch brothers. Even though their own funded researcher Richard Muller concluded that “global warming is real,” the billionaire brothers continue to front for anti-climate warming groups. Americans for Prosperity has crafted a “no climate tax” pledge signed, to date, by 411 lawmakers.

Unfortunately, our country’s leadership lacks a vigorous education campaign to alert the public. President Obama, in what were supposed to have been groundbreaking proposals for addressing the problem, succeeded more in being a cheerleader for the gas industry. Calling for yet more study, he postponed a decision to vote against the northern extension of the Keystone XL pipeline based on existing scientific findings revealing the dangers of fracking for natural gas. Fortunately, climate-change activists are alerting us to the dangers and call for viable, clean alternatives.



Enforce rules

I applaud the efforts of the Boy Scouts of America in requiring participants (Scouts and leaders) to be more health-conscious in order to attend the 2013 Jamboree (July 14 Eagle).

Although the body mass index is a newer requirement for the BSA, the height and weight requirements have been in place for a number of years with the guideline table administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Department of Health and Human Services. For example, an individual who is 6 feet tall should have a recommended weight between 140 and 199 pounds with an allowable exception of 200 to 239 pounds.

Each Scout and adult leader is “required” to have a yearly pre-participation physical signed off on by a physician before attending any summer camp, high-adventure camp or jamboree. As an adult Scout leader for nearly 15 years, I have witnessed on a number of occasions the BSA looking the other way when it comes to height and weight requirements and allowing Scouts and leaders to participate when they clearly should have been sent home.

The height, weight, safety and BMI requirements protect the Scout, the unit, parents, guardians, camps and the Boy Scouts of America – but only if the rules are enforced.



Matter settled

“Deliberate attack” (June 8 Letters to the Editor) began with a question: “What has happened to the investigation of the attack on the USS Liberty by the state of Israel in 1967?” What has happened is that it was agreeably settled more than four decades ago.

The letter writer failed to divulge that this unfortunate incident happened during the Six-Day War in which Israel was desperately fighting for its very survival against a coalition of its neighbors. In the confusion of war, messages were garbled and the USS Liberty was mistaken for a belligerent Egyptian ship. We can be sure that Israel would not deliberately attack a ship of its most reliable ally, especially when it was in the heat of battle against an attack by enemies. Israel paid the U.S. millions of dollars for its honest mistake.

There are ample current atrocities in the world that deserve attention without dredging up something that was peaceably settled more than four decades ago.

Last year, Palestine lobbed 215 missiles per month on Israel, inflicting casualties on defenseless civilians and untold property damage. A serious investigation into Palestine’s routine and indiscriminate bombing could very well determine that it owes Israel a bundle in reparations.